Council pledges water project support

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

The Portales City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night pledging its support for funding for the interconnection phase of the Ute pipeline project.

The capital outlay request to the 2014 state legislature will be made by the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority, of which Portales is a member.

It is the group’s only request for the year, according to Portales City Manager Doug Redmond.

Councilors considered their action as a vote of confidence in the project.

ENMWUA Chair Gayla Brumfield said the group has not determined how much money it will request but will do so at a capital outlay budget meeting Thursday in Portales.

Redmond made it clear to councilors as he presented the resolution to them that approving the resolution would not change the city’s capital outlay requests.

The phase in which the councilors backed to secure funding for includes the building of the pipeline, which will start from north Curry County, then will go west of Cannon Air Force Base, and then heads to Portales, according to Brumfield.

During this phase, Brumfield said the ENMWUA will lease or purchase water from the local agricultural community. Ag producers in Roosevelt and Curry counties have expressed interest in selling and leasing their water, according to Brumfield.

“We can use (the water from the ag community as a water source) until the total pipeline is built,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield said this part of the $550 million project is essential because the pipeline will take two to three years to complete.

“The groundwater is overall depleting but we’ll be taking out of ag and putting it to municipal use,” Brumfield said. “This gives us the availability … until we can get this built to the reservoir which will be the sustainable piece.”

The Curry County Commission passed a similar resolution in support of obtaining funding for the project at its Tuesday meeting.

Brumfield said the other local governments represented in the ENMWUA are expected to pass similar resolutions soon, with the Clovis City Commission expected to take action on the issue Thursday at its meeting.

“It’s a blended effort,” she said. “We’re able to take care of Cannon’s needs, Clovis’ needs and Portales’ needs, ultimately.”

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